"No matter how long a log stays in the water, it doesn't become a crocodile." Mali Proverb.
Can a Successful Executive Not Be Disciplined?
The C-suite being referred to (in the video) is short-hand for all corporate senior executives. The four leadership types discussed are -
By-way-of a disclaimer, I am almost completely submerged in the art of coaching not leadership. I believe that in the same way that good leaders can manage, good coaches can lead. The trick is not to confuse the skills; know when you need to manage, know when you need to lead and know when you need to coach.
- Be patient: Most good leaders I have met have been very capable people able to turn their hand to most things. But this is not how things are with all people, especially younger workers. It is up to a leader to recognise the limitations of others and not give them tasks beyond their capability or experience.
- Keep calm: A good leader does not have the luxury of being able to panic. No matter what the circumstances things will be made worse if people cannot take inspiration from their leader.
- Respect everyone: From the receptionist to the CEO, everyone in an organisation deserves respect.
- Be ethical in all your dealings: The most important 'currency' a leader can trade is their word. Think long and hard before giving your word because once given, a promise can't be taken back.
- Listen to the truths of others without being combative: It is seldom that any leader has 100% backing from 100% of their team. A good leader recognises this and welcomes constructive feedback, given at the correct time, in the correct manner. It is then vital that a team feels that they can voice their opinions without fear of an angry or dismissive or ridiculing response.
- Avoid becoming cynical, recognise virtue, high ideals and heroism: When listening to the opinions of others try not to ignore what they are saying based on any negative bias that exists. It may be that people have proven themselves unreliable in the past and it is reasonable that this should shape your ultimate decision. But you must at least listen with an open mind, before deciding how to proceed.
- Learn how to take strength from everything you believe: Leaders find that when things are going well they are lauded by everyone around. It's when things are not going well that doubting voices will be heard. It is at this point that leaders should take strength from all of the beliefs that they have built on the long road to success.
- Know yourself. Don't criticise yourself. Accept who you are and what you have done as part of your life. It is part of what makes you, you: Accept who you are without criticism, be grateful for the characteristics that make you an individual.
- Be happy: Happiness is the first line of defence against mediocrity. Be happy with your life, work and family, they are real assets.
- Get to know yourself.
- Become a student of leadership theory.
- Truly understand the difference between management and leadership.
- Get to know your team as individuals.
- Apply this knowledge in all of your dealings with others.
- Understand that the true art of leadership is being able to get people to follow you willingly.
I made the point in the description of the video that this piece of research is fairly recent. I wanted to emphasise this because this is just the latest 'take' on a long-established area of study. When I was first introduced to leadership styles in the late 70s they were also divided into four categories -
- Authoritarians: liked to wield power.
- Paternalists: saw workers as partners and the company as an extended family.
- Democrats: wanted all workers to have a say in important decisions.
- Laissez-faire: delegators led by group decisions.
inspirational leaders who lead from the front (the best salesman promoted to sales manager). My point is that, mostly, it is only the language that changes.
The main issue that I would like you to consider is that leadership has to be an extension of your own personality. If deep down inside you are an authoritarian, acting in a paternalistic way will come across as false and will not be sustainable. It is much better to accept your own personality traits and explain them to the people you work with than it is to create a false personality.
It is my experience that very successful leaders use a 'blended' approach to working with others. It is very rare to find a leader who just barks orders or sits back and lets things happen around them.
For me, true leaders know when to give orders, recognise when team members need personal support, are confident enough to let the team have their say and are insightful enough to know when to let others lead the way.
More Suggested Videos.
Why We Need Introverted Leaders.
Leadership without ego.
How Great Leaders Serve Others.